Float Like A Butter Fly Sting Like A Bee Ali Comes To Ennis Which Is Close To Killkee
Updated : Aug 11, 2009
Muhammad Ali has accepted an invitation from Ennis Town Council to visit his ancestral Irish home next month, it has been confirmed.
The former world heavyweight champion, now 67 and fighting Parkinson’s disease, will visit the birthplace of his great grandfather during the afternoon of Tuesday, 1 September 2009. Council officials met with Ali’s representatives in Ennis, Co Clare, today to finalise a date for the visit.
Ali’s great grandfather Abe Grady emigrated from his home on the Turnpike Road in Ennis to the United States in the 1860s. Grady sailed from Cappa Harbour in Kilrush, County Clare, eventually settling in Kentucky, where he married an African-American woman. Their son also married an African-American and one of the daughters of that union was Ali’s mother, named Odessa Lee Grady. She married Cassius Clay, senior, and they settled in Louisville, where their son was initially given his father’s name on his birth in 1942. He later changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to the Nation of Islam after winning the world title in 1964.
Mayor of Ennis Cllr Frankie Neylon said he expected that further details of Ali’s visit would be finalised during a special meeting of Ennis Town Council on Monday week.
The Mayor continued: “This is a very exciting event for the people of Ennis and Co Clare who will get to see the boxing legend when he embarks on a drive throughout the town and the birthplace of his great grandfather. I will be proposing at the Town Council meeting that a Civic Reception, the highest honour that this town can give, be held in Muhammad Ali’s honour. I will also be proposing that he be named the first Honorary Freeman of Ennis Town”.
Mayor Neylon added: “The public interest in this planned visit has been immense and I believe that the publicity surrounding it will result in thousands of additional visitors to the town. The visit will serve as a huge boost to the local economy including its bars and hotels, which have experienced a huge downturn in business over the last year. I have no doubt that the people of Clare will turn out in huge numbers to welcome Muhammad Ali and that the boxer himself will thoroughly enjoy his visit to the Ireland’s Banner County.”